Staying motivated during this lockdown has been hard for some. You’re either missing your normal workouts. You’re missing your training buddies. Missing your old routine. Whatever the case may be, things have changed and it’s hard to get your mojo back.

The truth is, though – it’s all in your head.

Think about a time when you were crushing your goals and hammering your workouts. Or when you were consistent with your nutrition. What’s the difference between now and then? Nothing, you’ve got all the same tools at your disposal.

The only difference is how you perceived yourself and your goal. You needed to achieve it. You needed to train. You needed to eat good food.

Now you want it, not need it. Now it would be nice to achieve it. Now it’s a luxury, not a necessity. You once needed something so bad that you did anything to achieve it. But now it’s done. It’s over. You won. Time to relax.

That’s motivation. It’s fickle. It comes and goes. It’s here when you want it to be and gone the other 90% of the time. Just like you crushed your goals once before, you relaxed and lost them just the same. Motivation came and went.

Relying on motivation to do things and create results is how you get stuck on the yo-yo diet. It’s how you bounce from training program to training program. It’s how you end up looking in the mirror wondering how you got here.

If you want long-lasting change, you need habits. You need to create routines. You need to make the activities that achieve the goal you want, a part of your life.

Training isn’t a means to an end anymore. You don’t train because you have to – you do it because you want to.

Food prep isn’t a means to an end anymore. You don’t prepare healthy meals because you have to – you do it because you want to.

You do these things because you value what you get from it. And when you value something, you make it happen. Regardless of how ‘motivated’ you are. It’s up to you to cultivate motivation. Create it. Keep it going.

When you get to a point where your values, habits and routines align with your goals, that’s when you’ve made it permanent and you don’t have to rely on motivation.

Be disciplined, not motivated.

How to stay motivated in isolation

So, if you can’t rely on motivation, what do you do?

You create discipline. You create habits. You set yourself a routine to stick to. A routine that guarantees you achieve your goals. This is especially important now during this whole isolation period.

You may be struggling because COVID-19 has shaken up your routine. The gym closed and you have to train at home. You have to modify your workout because you don’t have equipment. You have to train by yourself, not in a group with your friends now.

It’s tough, but not impossible.

Train ‘with’ friends

Today’s technology allows us to video call anyone we know and have a chat to them. We get to connect with another human being. We can see their face. Hear their voice. This makes it so much more valuable than just a phone call.

Use this to your advantage and do a workout together. Prop the phone up against something and video yourselves doing your workout. Have a chat between sets. Watch each other’s technique. Gossip about that b!&ch over there in the pink tights. Flex your biceps at each other and take selfies in your jocks.

You know, whatever you would normally do in your sessions.

Apart from the interaction you get from training with someone else, you also get the accountability. Book your call in advance. Lock in a time with your training partner(s) and make sure you’re there. Now you’ve scheduled your sessions, they’re fun and they make you want to keep training.

How to stay motivated in isolation(2)

Train outdoors

Bed > Fridge > Shower > Home office > Fridge > Home office > Fridge > Couch > Exercise > Fridge > Couch > Fridge > Bed.

Is your routine something like that? Maybe a few more trips to the fridge? Seriously, do we expect there to be something new in there each time?!

Anyway, the point is – you may not be moving around too much right now. Things can become stale when everything you do is at home.

You sleep at home.
You eat at home.
You work at home.
And now you have to train at home.

Try getting outdoors.

It helps to shift your mindset from work/relaxing to training. You’re in a much better headspace now to attack a workout. The change of scenery, the sun, the fresh air. It all helps.

Head down to the local park or beach. Set up a small area for your workout and get after it.

Create a routine

Similar to above, isolation has changed your routine. You’re stuck at home and it’s hard to break the grip that Netflix and your couch have on you.

So, stay in routine.

You used to train at 6am? Get up and train at 6am.
You used to train after work? Train after work.
You used to prepare all your meals on Sunday? Prepare your meals on Sunday.

Try to keep your routine as similar as possible to before.

When our gym was open, I had to get up at 4:15am to coach the 5:30am class. Now, I could have very easily taken those days and just turned my alarm off now that I don’t have to go in and coach.

But then when am I going to wake up? When do I train? When do I work? There’s too much uncertainty. Thought’s like “I’ll do it later” start popping up more and more. Before I know it, I’ve slept until 8:30, I skip my morning training session and never get around to it.

Don’t leave things to chance. Don’t put them off until later. Keep your routine how it was before or even make a new routine.

Set an alarm, don’t wake up randomly.
Lock in your training session and time.
Set a time to start and finish work.

The more prepared you are, the better.

How to stay motivated in isolation(3)

Go for a walk

You’re sitting on the couch. You’re nice and relaxed. Now you’re gonna get up and dive straight into a workout? That can be hard and unproductive. It’s hard to get going and get in the right frame of mind. 

Try going for a 10-30min walk before your training session. It gives you time to transition from work or relaxation to training.

Listen to some music. A podcast. An audiobook. Take the dog for a walk. Think about your training session. What do you have to do?

Not only do you get to transition into your training session more productively, you’ll also get some more steps for the day which are always helpful in a time like this.

Like I mentioned earlier, motivation is fickle. It’s not always there when you need it and you can’t rely on it. Take these methods and implement them into your routine to become disciplined. When you’re disciplined, you don’t need motivation. You get the work done and achieve your goals, permanently.

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